Ten nations and thousands of personnel are participating in the annual Rim of the Pacific exercise, which began this week off the Hawaiian Islands and will continue for the next couple weeks despite the ongoing pandemic.
A total of 22 surface ships, one submarine, multiple aircraft, and 5,300 personnel will participate in RIMPAC from Aug. 17-31. It will be a scaled down, at-sea-only event due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.
The modified exercise plan aims to limit risks to service members, allies and partners, and the people of Hawaii while still offering a meaningful training exercise for everyone involved.
“RIMPAC is a unique opportunity for like-minded nations to expand mutual support, increase interoperability, and demonstrate our collective resolve to ensure the Indo-Pacific remains free and open,” said Adm. John Aquilino, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, in a Navy statement. “RIMPAC participants share common values, interests and commitment toward mutual security and prosperity. While COVID-19 presents some challenges, all RIMPAC participants are practicing disciplined COVID mitigations to protect the citizens of Hawaii, the force, and prevent the spread of the virus while gaining invaluable experience working alongside our valued partners at sea.”
This is the 27th RIMPAC exercise since it began in 1971. Typically, it is held every two years, and last year 26 nations participated. The theme of this year’s exercise is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners.”
The exercise will test capabilities in anti-submarine warfare, maritime intercept operations, and live-fire training.
Participating countries include Australia, Brunei, Canada, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, and the United States.
“While we may be able to surge ships and people, we cannot surge trust,” said Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, Vice Adm. Scott D. Conn, who is leading the exercise. “This formidable team will spend the next two weeks forging relationships and strengthening bonds through a series of events designed to improve our ability to operate together. The work we will do here will make us all more capable and adaptive, and ready to face any challenge or crisis together, whether man-made or a natural disaster.”
MAIN PHOTO: PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Aug. 13, 2020) A U.S. Navy MH-60S Sea Hawk, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, lands aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL-755). Ten nations, 22 ships, 1 submarine, and more than 5,300 personnel are participating in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) from August 17 to 31 at sea around the Hawaiian Islands. RIMPAC is a biennial exercise designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships, critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The exercise is a unique training platform designed to enhance interoperability and strategic maritime partnerships. RIMPAC 2020 is the 27th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Nate Laird)